Things really start to look up for Ivy in this second episode. Until they don’t. One of the more frustrating elements in the series’ first episode was the utter lack of support shown for Ivy during her initial return to her family. Her mother’s ridiculous insistence that her oldest daughter’s environment be a perfectly-preserved time capsule from thirteen years ago seems as potentially harmful to Ivy as her father’s aloofness, her sister’s distrust, and her onetime boyfriend’s deception. Thankfully, some of these barriers begin to break down as most of team Ivy show themselves finally ready to step up and (at least try to) do right by their long-lost sister. The breaking point begins, appropriately, with her sister Emma. While Christina continues her spiraling meltdown of denial and pastry-conflagration, Emma finally takes the plunge back into sisterhood over a bowl of cake batter. It’s awkward and just a little bit more dysfunctional than it is cute and heartwarming, but it shows an effort on the part of the “kid” sister to reach out. Even if this act chooses to take the bypass around Mother Christina’s downtown Crazytown, it certainly makes an impact on Angus. It seems (to this viewer, at least) that his relative fecklessness since her return has been more of a calculated assessment of his daughter’s emotional state and a desire to determine what will best suit her. It’s a tad cold and emotionless, but also a more reasonable approach than Christina’s days-of-yore preserved in amber. It’s dear old dad who reaches out to Tim. As misguided and disastrous as it may potentially be to push your recently-escaped abductee daughter into the arms of her now-married former schoolgirl crush, it’s hard to think he has anything but Ivy’s better interests and well-being at heart in this action. I may be way off on this, but his distance seems to be little more than a facet of his personality. Time will have to tell. But then there’s Tim. Tim, Tim, Tim. You should have come clean right from the start, dude. As webs of deceit go, yours was almost on par with that of a Scooby-Doo villain. I can’t begin to fathom what he was hoping to accomplish other than prove himself to be every bit as emotionally stunted as his former girlfriend. I mean, the paparazzi didn’t do him any favors, but come on, dingus. The secret memory box, the clandestine meetings, the blithe lack of truth with your wife who has been abnormally supportive throughout these new developments? Now you’ve gone and stepped in it. And what’s up with this Eloise chick? She has something of a Laura Palmer bad girl vibe about her, and it should be interesting to find out why Ivy seemed rather intent upon not recognizing her. From the start, this episode seemed to be about how Ivy can begin to weave together the frayed strands of her life and find a way to move forward with her family and friends. It’s clear to see that this transition will not be an easy one (trying really hard not to cue the end of the Kimmy Schmidt theme song in my head right now), and her therapy bills will certainly be extensive. But shreds of light seem intent on finding their way through the fog. Besides the aforementioned cake batter incident, she changes her clothes (and hopefully burns the outfit she’d been wearing since the middle of last episode), asks her sister to help with her makeup, and even goes meadow-frolicking with her delusional squeeze. But all of this family drama is overshadowed by the ratcheting anxiety over finding Ivy’s abductor’s newest acquisition, ten-year-old Phoebe. The police have fallen under scrutiny, and Detective Inspector Elliot Crane and his partner Detective Sergeant Lisa Merchant are among the very few not sacked from the evolving investigation. They are retained primarily because of their established relationship with Ivy. The trust built into this triad melts down as new CCTV evidence comes to light and the investigators make fondue out of the Swiss cheese of Ivy’s captivity story. Over the course of this episode, Ivy’s status goes from “pretty good considering” to “FML” really quick. Even without the mortifying tearful public confession of love in front of Tim’s wife, there’s the blink-and-you-miss-it last gasp at the end of the episode. Heybuhwha—?!? Rewind that last two seconds, will you? As with last week’s episode, we (the audience) find ourselves struggling between waves of sympathy for and suspicion of Ivy. The writing and direction remained at the watermark set by last week’s premiere. This shouldn’t be surprising when you consider that this episode was once again penned by series creator Marnie Dickens and brought to life by director Vanessa Caswill. This continuity will pass into next week’s episode as well. This week’s episode did a tremendous job of answering some of last week’s questions and relieving last week’s tensions even while ploughing deeper furrows in this story’s disquieting field. The next episode can’t come fast enough. As a side note, I’ve read that Dickens insists that this is a stand-alone limited series and she does not intend a second season to spin out of it. But this particular writer would like to go on record with a request for a follow-up series with Detectives Crane and Merchant. His gut-level instincts remain at odds with her no-nonsense police work, and their tempestuous personal relationship seems to follow a similar pattern. That his fly-by-night methods have landed him in a position of higher rank than his harder-working counterpart is an additional source of tension between them. It’s a pretty darkly realistic take on the workplace drama trope, and I’m eager to see it developed more over the next few episodes. It’s rather fascinating to follow along and see whether their two approaches are going to dovetail into a final conclusion, or if they will end up at odds with one another. It’s a side drama that has me nearly as captivated as the main story. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.